I figured it would make more sense to show you my top picks for the Big Two at the top of the post to get you ready to read about their awesomeness down below. Hell occasionally if I choose to feature an Image, Dark Horse, Monkeybrain, whatever comic in the post I might chuck it in the header image instead of a Marvel or DC book. I am just all kinds of unpredictable these days!
I have started something else new this week too. Over on YouTube I am a member of a new channel called, FTDiesALot. It is something I am doing with a couple of friends of mine and part of the content we are producing is all about comic books! YAY! So every week, whenever possible, I will be putting together a short video talking about my ultimate pick of the week from the top picks detailed in these posts. So for this week if you fancy watching me talk about Thor: God of Thunder #2 as well as reading about it, head here now to see it!
Over in DC’s neck of the woods things are pretty good this week. I had a hard time narrowing down the choices out of the books I read. There are three “Also check out…” books this week, I really wanted to include more but I am trying to keep things tight around here. Make sure you take a look at Justice League Dark #14 and Teen Titans #14! (DAMN! They slipped through!) The key for DC this week seems to be showing that their books cover a broad range tonally. You have teen hijinks with Teen Titans, grim and gritty with Batman Inc, big fun with The Flash, etc. etc. Every book I read this week (apart from Batman: The Dark Knight *yaaaaawn*) stands on its own as a good read.
The choice for top pick from Marvel this week was also a super tough one. In the end it came down to two contenders Thor: God of Thunder and All-New X-Men with Thor just edging ahead because it continues to surprise and amaze me. Everything else I read this week was all Avengers related so you will get to see it all in the full breakdown. Marvel NOW! continues to grow and impress overall. I am even finding myself more inclined to try new books as and when they pop up. My bank balance remains safe for now but that could all change in the next few weeks!
Anyway let us get cracking with this week’s picks!
A WARNING though, there will be SPOILERS!
Oh Batman Incorporated why are you such a good book? It cannot just be Grant Morrison closing off his epic run on Batman or Chris Burnham’s brilliant art. There has to be something else to it. Maybe because you effortlessly stride across the life and time of Batman and Co. like a fiddler on the roof, if the fiddler was continuity in the wake of the New 52. (Brownie points is you get that VERY tenuous simile!) This issue focuses on the very grim future for Gotham City first presented in Batman #666 while occasionally flicking back to the present day shenanigans of the Caped Crusader and his friends. We see the end of Gotham play out as the Joker’s last laugh turns the majority of the population into a mad mob of maniacs with Damian and Babs holding the fort at the last bastion of sanity, Arkham Asylum. (Oh the irony!)
As the issue progresses it becomes clear that this is the future that Bruce saw at the end of The Return of Bruce Wayne and that Damian is the key to Gotham’s destruction or salvation and it all hinges on him being Robin with Batman or going back to his mother, Talia. The issue is full of little throwbacks and references to Morrison’s run on Batman with the Arkham inmates Damian unleashes as his last ditch effort being made up of Morrison created villains. Along with a brilliant twisted throwback to The Killing Joke where a wheelchair bound Babs shoots Damian in the guts with a shotgun.
With the stakes already being pretty high with the war between Batman Inc. and Leviathan threatening to tear Gotham apart this issue has blown the roof off because we are teased with a sequence of events that ultimately leads to Gotham’s destruction by Presidential mandate,
And yes that menacing face bathed in red is Doctor Hurt, perhaps Morrison’s best creation and Batman’s personal devil. So that means he will be reappearing to take advantage of the current Batman/Leviathan War and maybe even be allied with Talia?
So as ever with Batman Incorporated, both the art and the writing are top notch and I was on the edge of my seat with every swipe of the page. If things keep building at this rate, the grand finale next year is going to be absolutely amazing. Bringing an end to one of the best longterm and epic Batman stories ever dared to be told. The issue also gets added props for showing Damian’s love for both cats and Alfred once again!
Also check out:
The Flash, Superman and Aquaman #14 are your other picks for this week.
The Flash is currently going through a very hit and miss type story that all depends on how you feel about giant talking gorillas. A lot happens in this fast paced issue as Grodd chases The Flash down, the Rogues help defend the city, Iris’s brother appears, Solovar makes his presence known and Patty finds out that Barry is The Flash! As it has been the past few months the story is a bit convoluted and confusing but the gorgeous art from Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato makes reading it a pleasure. As they continue to experiment with the form and style of the modern comic book. I also love looking for the full DC Comics proudly presents (or presented in this issue’s case) The Flash text in each issue.
Superman #14 kicks off the H’el on Earth event proper as H’el and Supergirl confront Supes. It quickly becomes clear that H’el is a huge twat and that his intentions are not entirely pure. Still he makes an interesting opponent for Superman because he is depicted as being clearly more powerful than our Man of Steel. I am now expecting a huge battle further down the line! We also get some more focus on Clark Kent and the supporting cast’s personal lives which is great to see because most Superman writers seem to forget about Superman’s supporting cast half the time. Our narrator also makes another appearance on a few pages with his more relaxed style to the classic technique, giving him/her/it some personality. Then we have Kenneth Rocafort’s exceptional art being even further enhanced by Sunny Gho’s colours.
Then we come to Aquaman which is the prologue to the upcoming Throne of Atlantis crossover with Justice League. It is not the best issue and it makes a number of interesting choices like having Aquaman’s brother, Orm be constantly depicted in shadow within the issue to denote his sinister ways and to save his full reveal for later yet they have him proudly depicted on the cover of the issue! It mainly serves as setup to establish Atlantis and the story beats that Throne of Atlantis will be hitting but we get an interesting sub-tale of Aquaman’s great grand parents which is very interesting and maybe serves as a hint as what is yet to come.
Do not forget you check out my video review for Thor:God of Thunder #2 over on FTDiesALot.
The brilliance of issue one continues into the next instalment so it looks like I am now on board for the long run! The mystery of the God Butcher grows as the story focuses on Young Thor’s encounter with him while chasing down the mystery of the dead Native American god. We get Young Thor in full on arrogant mode with him being not yet worthy of wielding the Hammer of Thor which is a slightly depressing prospect!
His depiction is more in-line with the Thor we see in the first half of the movie which is a good thing because it provides a point of reference for new, lapsed and slightly knowledgable readers. Just imagine this is set well before the events of the movie and you are sorted. You know the character and how he acts from the get go.
Esad Ribic’s art is once again something to behold as his painted yet extremely detailed style really sets the dark fantasy tone for the book. Think Game of Thrones crossed with Lord of the Rings. Each panel is worth pouring over and they flow perfectly while giving the story a cinematic quality. Jason Aaron is starting to tell his Thor epic and I hope the Ribic is going to stay on the book long term because they are a perfect match.
In this issue we also get an interesting letter from Jason Aaron at the back that goes into some detail about what will happen over the coming months. The best bit being that Aaron will be revisiting the Three Thors concept on a semi-regular basis with them being a through-line for his Thor story. Which is awesome because it is a concept I desperately want to see explored further. But hey you know all of this already because you watched my video review of the issue, right? RIGHT?!
Also check out:
In Uncanny Avengers we get some more X-Men and Avengers learning to work together and become a greater whole. The Scarlett Witch and Rogue are the main focus of the issue with Wanda being controlled by the Red Skull via his new telepathic powers, courtesy of having Charles Xavier’s brain grafted onto his and Rogue escaping captivity to find Wanda. The thing that snaps Scarlett Witch out of her mind controlled state is seeing Xavier’s body being just casually left lying around. Another interesting plot point is that the Red Skull in this story is actually a clone of the original that has been kept on ice until recently to bring about the real Red Skulls desires if he ever failed in his extreme-Nazisim goals. Kind of like a fail safe. So that means two things:
- This clone will most likely be dead by the end of this story.
- Being a clone that will most likely die soon means that Rick Remender can push him to the extreme in both ideology and his evil scheme.
All-New X-Men #2 has pretty much alleviated any doubts I had about this time travel focused story (do I really need to link to Timey Wimey…Stuff again? Oh ok here you go). While it is dealing with some very heavy and possibly head scratching inducing subject matter it is doing it in the best way possible. With lots of fun. For every big question asked or implication…implied, we get a funny observation or moment. Wether it is the comments on how much the X-Men’s look has changed over the years to none of the original team knowing who Wolverine is or why he is important. For them he will be the scary crazy person who dived at them when they first arrived in the future not a well respected and feared superhero and teacher!
The main thing to take away from this issue is that being told about the further evolution of her powers causes Jean Grey’s mind reading powers to manifest a lot quicker than before. It might just be the nature of Jean’s abilities or just a quick way to get her having the power set most readers are familiar with. But I wonder if it means that the other members of the original team will see similar accelerated growth? Hmmmmm…..
Finally we come to New Avengers #34 which is a fitting end and rounding off of one of my favourite long running comic books. We get another awesome artist jam session in the middle of the issue and it gives Bendis the opportunity to both show how amazing Doctor Strange is in a fight as well as return him to Sorcerer Supreme status. Despite glossing over Victoria Hand’s death, the issue is a great read and ends with Luke Cage/Bendis reminiscing about his time with the Avengers and the promise of more to come from both him and Heroes for Hire.